December 28, 2016, 9:42 AM
Below is an article posted by the Federal Trade Commission on fake mobile apps. We hope this information is useful to you.
As more and more consumers are shopping with mobile apps, fraudsters are following the money. There are fake phone apps popping up that impersonate well-known retailers in order to steal your personal information. Their names are similar to well-known brands, and their descriptions promise enticing deals or features.
But these fraudulent apps can take your credit card or bank information. Some fake apps may even install malware onto your phone and demand money from you to unlock it.
Here are some tips to avoid downloading fraudulent apps:
- Not sure if a shopping app is legit? Go directly to the retailer’s website and see if they promote it. If they do have an app, they will direct you to the app store where you can download it.
- On the web, you can search a brand name, plus “fake app” to see if the company has reported its brand being spoofed.
- Look for reviews of the app before you download – both in the app stores and on the web. If the app has no reviews, it was likely created recently, and could be a fake. Real apps for big retailers often have thousands of reviews.
- Don’t download apps with misspelled words in their description. Many fake apps were created in a hurry. On the other hand, some fake apps look almost like the real thing.
If you’re using apps for shopping, keep records of your transactions. Screenshot or save the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller.
Monitor your credit card statements frequently; be on the lookout for charges that you don’t recognize.
For more tips on safely using apps on your phone, check out the FTC's “Understanding Mobile Apps” article.
Source: Federal Trade Commission
November 28, 2016, 10:08 AM
You’ve got meals to plan and gifts to buy. The last thing you need is to lose money to a scam. Here are three ways to avoid giving your hard-earned money to a scammer this holiday season.
Know how NOT to pay.
Is someone asking you to pay with an iTunes or Amazon gift card? Or telling you to wire money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram? Don’t do it. Scammers ask you to pay in ways that let them get the money fast — and make it nearly impossible for you to get it back. If you’re doing any holiday shopping online, know that credit cards have a lot of fraud protection built in.
Imposters pretend to be someone you trust to convince you to send money or personal information. They might say you qualified for a free government grant, but you have to pay a fee to get it. Or they might send phishing emails that seem to be from your bank asking you to “verify” your credit card or checking account number. Don’t buy it. Learn more about spotting imposter scams.
Make sure your money goes to real charities.
As a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge shows us year after year, the holidays are an important time to share with people in need. Unfortunately, sometimes charity scammers try to take advantage of your good will. And even when you’re dealing with legitimate charities, it’s still important to make sure a charity will spend your donation the way you want it to. Always check out a charity before you give.
Want a bonus tip? Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams, and read 10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud.
If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring the people behind them to justice.
Source: Federal Trade Commission
November 17, 2016, 1:58 PM
We certainly understand if the latest IRS imposter scam makes you queasy: it involves a fake IRS tax notice that claims you owe money as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
The IRS says the fake notices are designed to look like real IRS CP2000 notices, which the agency sends if information it receives about your income doesn’t match the information reported on your tax return. The IRS says many people have gotten the bogus notices, which usually claim you owe money for the previous tax year under the Affordable Care Act.
It’s one of many IRS imposter scams that have popped up. As tax season nears, we’ll see more. The good news? There are red-flag warnings that can help you avoid becoming a victim. For example, the IRS will never:
- Initiate contact with you by email or through social media.
- Ask you to pay using a gift card, pre-paid debit card, or wire transfer.
- Request personal or financial information by email, texts, or social media.
- Threaten to immediately have you arrested or deported for not paying.
In the new scam, the fake CP2000 notices often arrive as an attachment to an email — a red-flag — or by U.S. mail. Other telltale signs of this fraud:
- There may be a “payment” link within the email. Scam emails can link you to sites that steal your personal information, take your money, or infect your computer with malware. Don’t click on the link.
- The notices request that a check be made out to “I.R.S.” Real CP2000s ask taxpayers to make their checks out to “United States Treasury” if they agree they owe taxes.
In the version we saw, a payment voucher refers to letter number LTR0105C, and requests that checks be sent to the “Austin Processing Center” in Texas. But scammers are crafty. They could send messages with a variety of return addresses.
You can see an image of a real CP2000 notice on the IRS web page, Understanding Your CP2000 Notice. If you get a scam IRS notice, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it from your email account. Let the FTC know too.
Source: Federal Trade Commission
November 01, 2016, 9:52 AM
The article below published by the FTC is a great resource and teaching tool for the IRS imposter scams. If you feel you've given out sensitive information concerning your City Bank account, please contact us immediately.
If you have a phone, you’ve probably heard from an IRS imposter — someone claiming you owe thousands of dollars and better pay up immediately, or else terrible things will happen. In the last nine months, more than 111,000 of you reported calls like that to the FTC, and dozens wrote blog comments about callers with South Asian accents posing as IRS agents. Your reports provide crucial information to law enforcement about scam tactics, trends and locations.
The FTC aggressively sues scammers who operate across borders and target people in the US with imposter schemes. For example, a federal court recently temporarily shut down and froze the assets of a tech support operation that directed people to call a boiler room in India for computer help, then pressured them to spend $200 to $400 for useless repair services. That case was one of a dozen similar cases brought by the FTC.
The FTC also works with agencies worldwide to boost cooperation against cross border scams. Next month, staff from the Commission’s Office of International Affairs will meet for the fifth time with industry, trade groups, law enforcement and tech experts to continue efforts to thwart fraudsters operating in India. A recent police raid on nine call centers in India shows the benefit of collaboration.
If you get an unexpected call about a “tax debt,” remember: if the IRS needs to reach you, it will send a letter. Don’t give the caller any financial or personal information, and don’t send payment by money transfer, debit card or iTunes card. Hang up, and report the call to the FTC and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
July 18, 2016, 9:01 AM
Fraud resource: Below is an article published by the FTC as a resource for consumers to help spot and avoid scams.
If you have a computer or a phone, you’ve probably been targeted by a scammer pretending to be someone they’re not: maybe the IRS, another government official, a family member or friend, or a tech company. These imposters come in many varieties, but work the same way: the person pretending to be someone you trust tries to convince you to send money. The FTC received 353,770 imposter-related complaints last year.
Today, the Federal Trade Commission released new resources at ftc.gov/imposters to help you spot and avoid four common kinds of imposter scams: Family Emergency Imposter Scams, Tech Support Imposter Scams, Online Romance Imposter Scams, and IRS Imposter Scams.
The one-minute videos show how people are targeted, how to spot the scam, and where to report it. The articles are part of the agency’s ongoing Pass It On campaign, which encourages older adults to help raise awareness about fraud by talking to family, friends, and neighbors about avoiding common scams. Please share or use the videos and articles to pass on how to spot and avoid imposters.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
July 13, 2016, 4:19 PM
If a criminal gets ahold of your personal data, that information opens up a world of unlawful possibilities known as identity fraud. Your identity could be used to apply for credit cards, take out a loan, collect government benefits and empty your bank account. Here are some common schemes to watch out for in 2016.
Tech support scams. Don’t be fooled by someone calling and claiming to be from Microsoft® or a tech support company. They might tell you that your computer is infected with a virus (or about to become infected), and that they need remote access to your computer to troubleshoot and fix the issues. If given access, these scammers may intentionally cause damage in order to charge for repairs, or they might steal sensitive personal data and later use it to commit identity theft. Never provide computer access to a stranger who initiates the contact. Instead, report the call to your local police department.
Tax scams. Another common phone scam involves people who impersonate IRS employees or local law enforcement agents and demand payment for back taxes that you supposedly owe. These impostors threaten immediate arrest or a lawsuit if money is not sent via wire or prepaid debit card. They may also send emails and show up as IRS on your caller ID (known as phone spoofing). Remember, the IRS will notify you via mail if you owe taxes, and they will never ask for financial information over the phone or threaten you with arrest.
Public wi-fi scams. If you use a public computer or use wi-fi on an unsecured network, scammers can easily steal information you send over the Internet, including usernames and passwords. Use caution when using free wi-fi networks in public places. Never enter sensitive financial information while on one of these networks, and turn off your computer’s file sharing capabilities to prevent unwanted connections. If you use a public computer, be sure to log out of every site and the computer itself to prevent someone else from using your accounts.
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